High Country: America’s No. 1 Cannabis Edibles Brand Taps Bubby’s Chef Ron Silver For Fast-Acting Line
Until Bonnie’s is back open, you can make the next best thing at home. Chef Ron Silver’s famous Bubby’s pancake mix ships nationwide — all you have to do is add eggs and milk. $12, bubbys.com
Still beloved for its fresh comfort food, the Manhattan brunch institution Bubby’s opened on Thanksgiving Day 1990 in Tribeca. As Bubby’s readies for its 29th anniversary celebration this month — a major renovation of the restaurant included — owner and chef Ron Silver has also quietly cooked up a cannabis culinary company, which is about to broaden his New York City influence nationwide.
Seven years ago, Silver started personally developing a line of all-natural cannabis sweeteners to help solve what he observed as “a lack of controllable, low-dose and reliable edibles.”
His original mission remains to help people manage their intake and the effects of cannabis edibles through the four-patent-pending invention, TiME Technology. Enlisting former Intel executive Kim Rael as president and CEO, Azuca was officially founded in 2018 as Silver’s second business venture (he’s also the chief creative officer) and specializes in chef-quality, hemp-derived edible products available online and on-menu at Bubby’s. Silver operates an additional location in the Meatpacking District, plus six more in Japan.
Beyond his Bubby’s day-to-day, Silver clocked additional hours devouring chemistry, biology and cannabis books while also testing formulas. He says his expertise as a chef naturally complemented a deep dive into the science of cannabis.
The innovative process encapsulates single cannabinoid molecules, making them water-soluble and resulting in Azuca products having zero detectable hemp taste or smell. Azuca’s collection of CBD-infused sugars, syrups and chocolates take effect in two to 15 minutes — far less than the standard 90 minutes it takes to feel most edible products currently on the market.
“I have an in-depth understanding of cannabis, and cooking, but I never imagined I’d work to combine the two together,” Silver told me. “As a chef, I’m naturally concerned about things tasting great. The triumph was developing a technology that not only tastes great, but actually works in any food or beverage product.”
But the family-friendly restaurateur and father of four’s personal experience with cannabis started before he even began his career in the early-’80s at the legendary Restaurant Florent.
“I’ve smoked weed as soon as I could pick up a bong, since I was 12, and it’s not just that I like it, I love it,” admitted Silver in a recent, in-depth Q&A with PRØHBTD.
“I am interested in cannabis on an extremely deep level. I love the plant itself and see how it can help so many people with anxiety, debilitating ailments and other issues. What we have created is both gratifying and remarkable — and we are just at the tip of the iceberg. Azuca has so much potential and infinite applications,” he added.
That level of connoisseurship translates to technology also compatible with cannabis-infused edibles containing THC. Enter Wana Brands, the number one cannabis edibles brand in the country with products on shelves in medical and adult-use dispensaries in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Oregon.
The Colorado-based company’s CEO Nancy Whiteman set out on a global search in 2017 for products that could enable Wana’s signature confections to have a faster onset time. She ended up sitting next to Rael at a cannabis conference later that year and has now acquired licensing for Azuca’s TiME Technology specifically for its soon-to-be-launched Wana Quick line.
“Azuca is the perfect partner to help us expand our portfolio to meet all the various needs of edibles consumers, many of whom are demanding more predictability and faster effectiveness,” Whiteman shared with me. “Wana has been working in the edibles space for a decade now, and Ron’s quick-onset technology was best in class for confectionary products.”
Azuca is a privately held, investor-backed company. In March, Silver and Rael came to Aspen for a Green Table Global investor forum in March where they pitched potential funders. This summer, Azuca marked its first expansion to Colorado when it opened processing and manufacturing facilities in Colorado Springs and Golden. Through a lease from Summit Extraction and Centered Snacks, Rael explained, “The move has allowed us to leverage Colorado’s vast resources and progressive legislation to streamline our development and distribution of Azuca’s CBD products.”
Wana Quick products are currently in development, with the line slated to roll out in Colorado in December. Additional states will follow in 2020. Azuca’s own THC products are available in Massachusetts at Mayflower Medicinals, Verilife, and Triple M.
“Bringing this technology to a wider audience is so exciting and important. We are able to see our work and vision come full circle, with one of the most respected edibles companies in the business,” Silver said. “Our plan is to help more companies formulate edibles that are more understandable to their consumers. Providing predictability in cannabis products will only help move the industry at large forward.”
Katie Shapiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.